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I see a lot of progressives panicking over today's Rasmussen poll showing that Norm Coleman has jumped into the lead over Al Franken.

Over at Swing State, there's speculation that Norm's bump is due to his recent StarTribune endorsement, or a strong debate performance, or his (phony) pledge that he won't run any more negative ads.

Ok, I'm going to deal everything I can think of on why it's not time to panic.

Here's my best shot: Nate's comments, brilliant-as-always, on this race over at 538:

Minnesota remains too close to call, if tilting very slightly to Al Franken. The key factor here is the support for independent Dean Barkley, who is still polling at about 18 percent, but much of that support is likely to collapse by election day. From parsing the SurveyUSA cross-tabs, it appears that about 29 percent of Barkley's vote comes from Democrats, 20 percent from Republicans, and 51 percent from true independents. Also, roughly two-thirds of Barkley's voters are pro-choice. This means that the race is probably Franken's to lose, but with so much advertising on both sides, it can be hard to drive a message.

I have to agree. People love to tell pollsters that they're voting for the third party candidate, but it usually ain't true (ok I know Ventura won in Minnesota, but work with me here). For example, Nader polled an average of 1.0% in 2004, but only got 0.38% on election day. I'm confident that many pro-choice, anti-war voters who were considering Barkley will go blue.

Some other stuff I hope will help those of us who loved Paul Wellstone keep our spirits up:

Brian Melendez has a pretty good comeback to the StarTribune's Coleman endorsement today:

But even as Coleman embraces bipartisanship and eschews attack politics, he is running a second campaign: an aggressive behind-the-scenes race to chair the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate Republicans' campaign arm. Coleman sought the job unsuccessfully once before. So while he's claiming that he abhors partisanship, he is actively seeking the role of the Republicans' chief attack dog. As NRSC chair, Coleman's job would be to attack and unseat Democrats -- not work across the aisle with them.

Worse, the NRSC that Coleman wants to head is behind some of the most vicious smears that Minnesotans have seen in this election. For starters, it besmirched Sen. Paul Wellstone's memory by mischaracterizing Al Franken's loving impersonation of his friend Paul as an example of "anger."

More good stuff: The Big Dog himself, Bill Clinton, will rally for Al on Thursday. Meanwhile, Coleman is being forced to answer some embarrassing questions regarding a lawsuit filed against contributor Nasser Kazeminy.

Why this means so much to me:
I was an intern in the Office of Senator Tom Harkin in 1992 when Paul Wellstone told a reporter, "Tom is my best friend in the Senate." Senator Harkin said the same about Paul in 2002. Thank you.

Originally posted to jgoodfri on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 11:10 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  on ron reagan's show (5+ / 0-)

    tonight he had a guest who said that Franken's key to victory was getting the Dem vote. Doesn't need any independents, repubs to cross over... reiterated point above about the barckley dems moving to franken... this is one senate race i truly have my heart in. i remember when franken first decided to run and it just seemed like a fantasy... Imagine this guy in the US Senate? It'll be like having another Sanders!

    "Imagine better than the best you know." Neville Goddard.

    by boatsie on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 11:27:15 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for talking me down (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgoodfri, Ricola

    I grew up in Minnesota and, not to give away my age, but that was back when Mondale and Humphrey were senators. I voted for Paul Wellstone and I can't think of anyone better to carry on his legacy of standing up for the poor and the middle class than Al Franken.  I live out west now, but I remember when Coleman was mayor of St. Paul.  He was a fraud then and he's a fraud now.  I hope Minnesota returns to its blue roots and sends two democratic senators back to Washington.  

  •  Actually... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    uzeromay, sidious666, Ricola

    I am sorry to say, I live in MN and I do not see a lot of reason to be optimistic about Franken's chances.

    First, he's run a fairly lethargic campaign in state. His ads are everywhere, but you rarely see much from him on TV or hear about his events ahead of time. Hillary swung through to stump, and I never heard about it ahead of time. Would've loved to have gone. Also, for whatever reason, Franken is not resonating with some of the ardent Obama supporters here - I know many who REALLY LIKE Barkley and WILL actually vote for him.

    There was a time very recently when the buzz was that Barkley had a real chance here, so many non-Coleman voters who don't love Franken WILL probably vote for Barkley, and that will cost Franken much more than Coleman. I unfortunately don't like what I'm seeing here - and can report your assumption that Barkley's support will swing to Franken is dead wrong.

    •  I would love to see Obama (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      uzeromay, soulsurfer99

      Show some love to Franken.  I think it would have a huge impact.  Hopefully William Jefferson Clinton's visit wi help too.

      "I think we have in Barack Obama the clear possibility of a truly great president" - Former (R) MN Governor Arne Carlson

      by Ricola on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:02:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I second that... (0+ / 0-)

        ...Obama's polling so well in the state, could he not make an ad like the one he made for the Oregon Senate race? Would that help? I'm also feeling very pessimistic about Franken's chances, esp. since Sabato gave the seat to Coleman in his crystal ball and there's another poll besides Rasmussen having Coleman now ahead. But Obama's doing so well in Minnesota. Couldn't he consolidate the base by cutting a really good pro-Franken ad explaining how much it would help to get a filibuster-proof majority?

  •  True tossup (0+ / 0-)

    "Gwen, I don't know where to start..."

    by Swordopolis on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 01:11:49 AM PDT

  •  I'm not sure I agree with Silver on Barkley's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wayward, uzeromay

    support collapsing. (I live in MN). This is a state that voted for Ventura even though he was 3rd in the polls going into the race. I really don't think Barkley has a chance of winning, but I don't think he pulls less than 15% either. Minnesotans are weird politically, and in many ways have a more independence streak than most other states.

    Having said that, I think Franken does have a shot, and the race is pretty much 50/50.

    My big hope is a massive voter turn out for Obama gives downticket races a final bump. was at Election Judge training yesterday and the SoS is saying to expect sustained massive turnout with no let up, fwiw. Additionally as of a few weeks back we have 90%+ voter registration already.

    "Biden's tears did more for the equality Of the sexes than Palin's presence" - Leah Renna

    by edgeways on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 03:37:23 AM PDT

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